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be turned out of the way: exert in the Christian race those nerves that have been relaxed, and collect those spirits which have been sunk in dejection: make a smooth and even path for your steps, and remove every thing that would obstruct and retard your velocity.
"The following distinguished passage in St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians (ix. 24-27.) abounds with agonistical terms. Its beautiful and striking imagery is totally borrowed from the Greek stadium. Know ye not, that they who run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached the Gospel to others, I myself should be a cast-away: Know you not that in the Grecian stadium great numbers run with the utmost contention to secure the prize, but that only one person wins and receives? With the same ardour and perseverance do you run, that you may seize the garland of celestial glory. Every one, also, who enters the lists as a combatant, submits to a very rigid and severe regimen.1 They do this to gain a fading chaplet, that is only composed of the decaying leaves of a wild olive, but in our view is hung up the unfading wreath of immortality.3 With this in full prospect, I run the Christian race, not distressed with wretched uncertainty concerning its final issue.4 engage as a combatant, but deal not my blows in empty air.
1 Πας δε δ αγωνιζόμενος παντα εγκρατεύεται. We have already noticed how rigid and severe this regimen was, and what temperance and continence [eyxparcia] those who entered their names in the list of combatants were previously obliged to observe. Multa tulit fecitque puer, sudavit et alsit: Abstinuit venere et vino, says Horace. See Æliani, Var. Hist. lib. xi. cap. iii. p. 684. Gronovii Lug. Bat. 1731. and Plato de Legibus, lib. viii. pp. 139, 140. edit. Serrani. 1578. and Eustathius ad Hom. Iliad. a. p. 1472.
2 φθαρτον στέφανον. The chaplet that was bestowed on the viotor in the Olympic games, was made of wild olive, the crowns in the Isthmian games were composed of parsley. These chaplets were fading and transitory. Δίδους και τοις θυμελικοις στεφανου μεν ου χρυσους, αλλ' ώσπερ εν ολυμπια, κοτίνων. Plutarch. Cato, jun. p. 1433. edit. Gr. Steph. 8vo. See also Porphyrius de Antro nympharum, p. 240. edit. Cantab. 1655, Philonis Opera, tom. ii. p. 463. edit. Mangey. Tous yap ra Iodpia νικωντας οἱ Κορινθιοι των σελινων στεφανουσιν. Those who conquer in the Isthmian games the Corinthians crown with parsley. Polyæni Stratag. lib. v. p. 376. edit. Casaubon. 1589.
3 'Hμeis de, apdaprov. With what ardour in the Christian race this glorious crown should inspire us is well represented by Irenæus. Bonus igitur agonista ad incorruptele agonem adhortatur nos, uti coronemur, et preciosam arbitremur coronam, videlicet quæ per agonem nobis acquiritur, sed non ultro coalitam. Et quantò per agonem nobis advenit, tantò est preciosior: quantò autem preciosior, tantò eam semper diligamus. Irenæus, lib. iv. p. 377. edit. Grab. The folly also of Christians in being negligent and remiss, when an incorruptible crown awaits their persevering and victorious constancy and virtue, is also beautifully exposed by Justin Martyr. See his Apol. ii. p. 78. edit. Paris, 1636.
4 So we understand ove adnλws. Mr. West renders it, in the illustration he has given us of this passage; I so run, as not to pass undistinguished; and then adds the following note; as our adnAws, may also signify in this place, as if I was unseen, not unobserved, i. e. as if I was in the presence of the judge of the games, and a great number of spectators. West's Dissertation, p. 253. 12mo.
5 Ούτω πυκτεύω, ὡς οὐκ αερα δερων.
This circumstance is often mentioned in de
inure my body to the severest discipline, and bring all its appetites into subjection: lest, when I have proclaimed1 the glorious prize to others, I should, at last, be rejected as unworthy to obtain it. This representation of the Christian race must make a strong impression upon the minds of the Corinthians, as they were so often spectators of those games, which were celebrated on the Isthmus, upon which their city was situated. It is very properly introduced with, KNOW YOU NOT for every citizen in Corinth was acquainted with every minute circumstance of this most splendid and pompous solemnity. St. Paul, in like manner, in his second Epistle to Timothy (ii. 5.), observes, that if a man strive for mastery, yet is he not crowned, unless he strive lawfully: He who contends in the Grecian games, secures not the crown, unless he strictly conform to the rules prescribed
"What has been observed concerning the spirit and ardour with which the competitors engaged in the race, and concerning the prize they had in view to reward their arduous contention, will illustrate the following sublime passage of the same sacred writer in his Epistle to the Philippians. (iii. 12-14.) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus: Not that already I have acquired this palm; not that I have already attained perfection: but I pursue my course, that I may seize that crown of immortality, to the hope of which I was raised by the gracious appointment of Christ Jesus. My Christian brethren, I do not esteem myself to have obtained this glorious prize: but one thing occupies my whole attention; forgetting what I left behind, I stretch every nerve towards the prize before me, pressing with eager and rapid steps, towards the goal to seize the immortal palm3 which God, by Christ Jesus, bestows.
scribing the engagements of combatants; thus, Virgil has, Entellus vires in ventum effudit. Eneid. v. 443. Vacuas agit inconsulta per auras Brachia. Valerius Flaccus, iv. 302. τρις & nepa rufe badelav. Iliad, Y. 446. See also Oppian. Piscat. lib. ii. ver. 450. Rittershus. Lug. Bat. 1597.
1 Addois enougas; proclaimed, as a herald, the prize to others. A herald, aŋpug, made proclamation at the games what rewards would be bestowed on the conquerors.
2 Adokipos yevwpai. Be disapproved; be rejected as unworthy; come off without honour and approbation.
3 Τα μεν οπίσω επιλανθανόμενος, τοις δε εμπροσθεν επεκτεινόμενος, επισκοπον διωκω επι το Boabelov. Every term here employed by the apostle is agonistical. The whole passage beautifully represents that ardour which fired the combatants when engaged in the race. Their spirit and contention are in a very striking manner described in the following truly poetical lines of Oppian, which happily illustrate this passage:
'Ως δε ποδώκείης μεμελημένοι ανδρες αέθλων
Oppian Pisc. lib. iv. ver. 101. edit, Rittershusii.
This affecting passage, also, of the same apostle, in the second Epistle of Timothy, written a little before his martyrdom, is beautifully allusive to the above-mentioned race, to the crown that awaited the victory, and to the Hellanodics or judges who bestowed it. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing." (2 Tim. iv. 8.)
As when the thirst of praise and conscious force
1 Τον ΔΡΟΜΟΝ τετέλεκα. I have finished my RACE. The whole passage is beautifully allusive to the celebrated games and exercises of those times. Apoμos properly signifies a race. Theocritus, idyl. iii. ver. 41. Sophoclis Electra, ver. 693. See also ver. 686-688. Euripidis Andromache, ver. 599. Euripidis Iphigenia in Aulide, ver. 212. Strabo, lib. iii. p. 155. edit. Paris, 1620. Xenophontis Memorab. pp. 210, 211. Oxon. 1741. So this word ought to be rendered.* (Acts xx. 24.) But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself; so that I might finish my couRsE with joy; τελείωσαι τον ΔΡΟΜΟΝ μου : finish the short race of human life with honour and applause. It is a beautiful and striking allusion to the race in these celebrated games.-In the fifth volume of Bishop Horne's Works, there is an animated discourse on the Christian race; the materials of which are partly derived from Dr. Harwood's Introduction to the New Tes tament, vol. ii. sect. 4.
JEWISH MODE OF TREATING THE DEAD.-FUNERAL RITES.
1. Mosaic Law relating to the Dead.-II. Treatment of the Deceased.-III. Lamentations for them.-IV. Rites of Sepulture.V. Notice of the Tombs of the Jews.--VI. Funeral Feasts.Duration of Mourning.
I. By the law of Moses a dead body conveyed a legal pollution to every thing that touched it, even to the very house and furniture,which continued seven days. (Numb. xix. 14, 15, 16.) And this was the reason why the priests, because of their daily ministrations in holy things, were forbidden to assist at any funerals, but those of their nearest relatives; nay, the very dead bones, though they had lain ever so long in the grave, if digged up, conveyed a pollution to any who touched them; and this was the reason why Josiah caused the bones of the false priests to be burnt upon the altar at Bethel (2 Chron. xxxiv. 5.), to the intent that these altars being thus polluted, might be had in the greater detestation.
II. When the principle of life was extinguished, the first funeral office among the Jews was to close the eyes of the deceased. This was done by the nearest of kin. Thus, it was promised to Jacob, when he took his journey into Egypt, that Joseph should put his hands upon his eyes. (Gen. xlvi. 4.) The next office was the ablution of the corpse. Thus, when Tabitha died, it is said, that they washed her body and laid it in an upper chamber. (Acts ix. 37.) This rite was common both to the Greeks and Romans,' in whose writings it is frequently mentioned. In Egypt, it is still the custom to wash the dead body several times with rain water.
III. From the earliest antiquity it was also usual with this people to make very great and public lamentations for their departed friends. What a deep general mourning did Abraham and his family make for Sarah, and with what public solemnity was her funeral conducted! What lamentations did Joseph and his brethren the children of Israel, and the land of Egypt make, upon the decease of the good old patriarch Jacob! What a procession was formed, and with what august pomp were his remains carried out of the land of Egypt, to be deposited in the sepulchre of his ancestors! All the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
1 Sophoclis Electra, verse 1143. Virgil. Æneid. lib. vi. 358
and all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father's house, went up only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen ; and it was a very great company. And they came to the threshing-floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a GREAT and very SORE LAMENTATION; and he made a mourning for his father SEVEN days. And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians! wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan. And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them. For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying-place of Ephron the Hittite before Mamre. And Joseph returned into Egypt, he and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. (Gen. 1. 7-13.) On the loss of dear and near relatives, and of amiable and affectionate friends, the grief of this people was violent and frantic. Tearing their hair, rending their clothes (which was prohibited to the high priest), and uttering doleful shrieks and piercing cries, were some of the expressions of it. Suetonius remarks this distinguished vehemence of the Jews in the expressions of their grief. In that great and public mourning, at the funeral of Julius Cæsar, a multitude of foreign nations, says the historian, expressed their sorrow according to their respective customs: but the mourning and lamentation made by the Jewish people exceeded all the restthey continued about the funeral pile whole nights together.! The assembling together of multitudes to the place where persons have lately expired, and bewailing them in a noisy manner, is still retained in the East, and seems to be considered as an honour done to the deceased.2
It appears, also, from the Scriptures, that upon the demise of their friends the Jews hired persons, whose profession it was to superintend and conduct their public and private sorrows, who, in funeral odes, mournful songs, and doleful ejaculations, deplored the instability of human condition, celebrated the virtues of the deceased, and excited the grief and lamentation of the survivors. This we learn from the following passages of the prophets: Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, consider ye and call for the MOURNING WOMEN, that they may come, and send for CUNNING WOMEN, that they may come; and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eye-lids gush out with waters. (Jer. ix. 17, 18.) Both the great and the small shall die in this land; they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning to comfort them for the dead, neither shall men
1 Suetonius in vit. J. Cæsaris. c. lxxxiv. p. 135. edit. variorum. Lug. Bat, 1662. 2 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 16-18.